European Funds – In order to help win a new tranche worth 19 billion euros ($19.4 billion) of post-pandemic European money, the highly contentious law to encourage competition in product and service sectors has received final approval from the Italian parliament.
Lobby groups have voiced opposition to the reform supported by the departing government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, particularly taxi drivers who opposed opening their industry to greater competition, including from multinationals.
Following pressure from the right-wing parties in parliament, clauses pertaining to cab drivers were deleted from the bill after Draghi’s national unity administration fell up last month.
In May Parliament also softened rules to open up tenders for lucrative contracts to manage bars and other facilities on the country’s 7,500 kilometers of coastline.
Bill to unlock European funds – The bill establishes that current concessions remain in effect until the end of 2023. Italian authorities can extend them for a further year to conclude the tender process.
Italy has a right to more than 200 billion euros in post-pandemic recovery funding from the European Union through the year 2026, but in order for the money to keep coming in, it must enact a number of small-scale reforms.
So far, the government has successfully obtained about 67 billion euros in EU funding. Rome must now accomplish 55 new goals in the second half of 2022 in order to receive the 19 billion euro payment, which analysts predict may be more challenging without Draghi at the helm. ($1 = 0.9814 euros)